Childhood & Early Life
Jessica Ennis-Hill was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, on January 28, 1986, to Vinnie Ennis and Alison Powell. Her father works as a freelance painter and artist, and her mother is a social worker. Jessica grew up with her younger sister, Carmel.
Despite their entirely different careers, her parents were into athletics in their younger days, and their stories played a major role in inspiring Jessica to continue with sports. She asked her parents to provide her training in athletics, at a very young age, and her favorite sport was high jump.
At the age of 10, she started taking her training more seriously, and her parents started taking her to local competitions, where she mostly won. At one such competition, she met Toni Minichiello, who ended up becoming her very first coach.
At the age of 11, she joined the ‘City of Sheffield and Dearne Athletic Club,’ where she had her life’s maiden professional training. In 2000, she participated in the ‘National Schools Championships’ and shocked everyone with her intense performance in the high jump competition. She aced the competition.. This made her confident, and she started aiming to become a world-class athlete.
She attended school in the Highfield and Dore areas. Once out of the high school, she chose Psychology as her graduation subject at the ‘University of Sheffield’ and graduated in 2007. She was not sure of sustaining a career in athletics for a very long time. Hence, she thought of Psychology as the other option.
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Ennis’ first tryst with a major championship happened in the year 2003, when she participated in the ‘AAA U20 Championships.’ She ended up winning the gold medals in the 100-meter hurdle race and indoor pentathlon. Soon, she established herself as one of Britain’s top emerging young athletes.
She gave interviews where she clarified that the secret of her consistent good performance was the training that she never missed.
2003 was also the year when she went international for the very first time. However, she succumbed to the immense pressure of going international and performed poorly in the ‘World Youth Championship,’ held in Canada, and the 2004 ‘World Junior Championship,’ held in Italy. However, by late 2004, she ended up winning two silver medals in the ‘Commonwealth Youth Games’ in Australia.
She won the 60-meter hurdle race of the ‘Northern Senior Indoor Championships’. In mid-2005, she competed in the ‘AAA Championship,’ and although she lost her shot at a medal, she ended up setting her own personal record for high jump.
Meanwhile, she became a part of the British senior athletics team. At the 2006 ‘Commonwealth Games,’ which took place in Melbourne, Australia, she won a bronze medal in high jump.
The ‘World Championships,’ held in Japan in 2007, saw her finish fourth overall, and also record the fastest time in the three track events. She reached her personal best in the 100-meter hurdles. In the 2007 ‘World Combined Events Challenge,’ she finished second overall, and later that year, she earned the ‘European Athletics Rising Award.’
The year 2008 brought a bad phase for Ennis, as she faced an injury that almost threatened her career. Due to the injury, which affected her right foot, she missed the ‘Beijing Olympics,’ and this also prevented her from participating in any other event in 2008.
She recovered by the end of the year and started training once again to attain the same level of perfection in her game. Her comeback was amazing, and she won the 2009 ‘World Championships’ in heptathlon. The next year, she became the winner of indoor pentathlon at the ‘World Indoor Championships.’
Her thrilling comeback was unexpected, and she continued with her electrifying form further, as she won the 60-meter hurdle at the five-team international meeting at Glasgow. In the process, she beat the favorite, Lolo Jones. She continued her successful streak, under perfect management and coaching.
In October 2011, she was voted as the ‘British Athlete of the Year,’ in a poll conducted by the ‘British Athletic Writers’ Association.’ This was the third time in a row that she had received the honor from the prestigious institution.
The year 2012 was the year of the Olympics and it was scheduled to take place in her own country. She performed beyond expectations in the 100-meter hurdle. Her personal best of 12.54 seconds helped her break the British national record. She ended the competition by becoming the gold medal winner in the heptathlon competition.
Throughout the next few years, she kept receiving honors for several national and international organizations and kept inspiring young females to take up athletics. She mostly stayed away from sports in 2014, owing to injuries and her pregnancy.
By 2016, her performance had somehow dimmed. She tried defending her gold medal in the 2016 ‘Rio Olympics,’ but failed to do so. She won the silver medal, and a few months later, in October 2016, she announced her retirement from the world of athletics to concentrate more on her family and health.
She was honored with the ‘Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire’ in the year 2017, for her contribution to athletics in the country.
Jessica Ennis-Hill married her long time boyfriend, Andy Hill, in May 2013. She had a son in 2014. In 2017, Ennis announced she was pregnant with her second child. She gave birth to a daughter in September 2017.
She writes columns for ‘The Times’ and is a brand ambassador of several brands, such as ‘BP,’ ‘Olay Essentials,’ and ‘Adidas.'